Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
One husband and I have just spent the last five days in my favourite fishing destination - the very remote lakes or our beautiful central highlands. The fishing in this part of Tasmania has a place deep in my heart, I am sure my grandfather, Miles, had his way there as he was a great explorer and fisherman of Tasmania's high country.

The weather has not mde the fishing easy this trip as blue sky which we didn't have much of certainly helps with polaroiding in these back country lakes, but on the good days we saw plenty of fish and caught a few and that's how it mostly is. It's not only the fishing that brings us back year after yaer the breathtaking beautiful scenery is also a big draw card. The wild flowers were in full bloom, mother nature certainly knows how to plant a garden.
Getting back to the fishing which is mostly hard work as the footwork involved is strenuous. If one wants to catch a few fish the water must be covered and the only way to do this is on foot. Covering the water slowly and watching every corner, overhanging banks, rock outcrops and be right at your feet. Having fished these areas for thirty odd years I am still learning. The fishing int his remote wilderness is like nothing else I have experienced.
This time of the year it's a mecca for the dry fly. Simple dry fly patterns are what is need such as red tags, black spinners, dun pattern and caddis patterns. For wet fly a red and black or green and black matuk's woolly bugger or something that represents the galaxia which by the way I saw a large brown trout hunting these ilttle native fish, it was rather like a sheep dog rounding up sheep.
The caddis in the highland area are many and caried so I have a standard pattern that will represent most varieties. They are tied on fourteen through to size 10 hooks. The following pattern has a palmered body which I find really good if the caddis are fluttering above the water. But if these insects are sitting ont he water with their wings closed, it is nexessary to trim the palmer body right back and even take the tail off too. There's nothing like having a versatile fly especially if you are a long way from the fly tying desk.

Caddis Pattern

  • Hook size - 14-10 light guage
  • Thread - black
  • Tail - cream cock fibres
  • Rib - very fine silver wire
  • Palmer body - cream badger feather
  • Hackle - cream badger feather
  • Front hackle - one brown partidge feather


  1. Take thread full length of shank and tie in tail, you may omit the tail if you wish but I find it helps the fly to sit properly.
  2. Tie in rib and bring thread two thirds along the shand toward the eye.
  3. Tie in palmer hackle and wind back toward the bend of hook where the rib is in place. Now bring rib through palmer hackle toward the hanging thread, tie rib down firmly. Cut away excess palmer feather and excess rib.
  4. Place hackle feather in and tie down firmly, cut away excess feather stem. Make four turns of hackle feather keeping each turn snugly against one another. Bring thread through hackle, cut away excess hackle.
  5. There should now be a little gap between the hackle and the eye of the hook. Place the partridge feather in and tie firmly down. Make two turns of the partridge feather, bring thread through securing the feather, cut away excess feather. Pull all the hackle fibres back gently and form a nice little head, whip finish, cut away thread and varnish.
  6. Trim the partridge fibres back to the same length as the main hackle.

This is a very smart little fly and has been a great part of our expeditions into our remote lakes. The trip as far as fishing was medium as the weather was not 100%. We managed some superb fish up to 7 lbs. We had a lot of fish ignore the dry fly. I think this is due to them not being fully clicked on to the dry fly, because of the very cold season we have had. There has not been a continuation of good weather out there to really get the insects underway. These fish are so different to the fish in our easy accessible lakes. They are truly wild fish and fight thus so. All except for a couple of small fish which we ate were released to grow larger for the next trip.

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